It’s been a while since the last installment of WDYRKAC and before we get into this one I just wanted to give you a little info as to why. The short version would be, I’m crazy busy. Between doing my book SCAM, coming out through ComixTribe, work and having a family, free time to transcribe these interviews has been hard to find. But I’m happy to say I’m going to be farming out a transcribing service which should make the backlog of interviews I already have done, readier for your consumption much sooner than later. All good news.
I also want to thank everyone who’s supported ComixTribe, SCAM and myself over the last year. It’s been a gigantic step forward in and going better than I could have ever hoped for and I’m very grateful and appreciative to all the people that have allowed ComixTribe and myself a chance to entertain you. We’ve got some really huge things coming up and I hope you’ll check out everything we’ve got coming your way.
Enough with the yapping, let’s get into what you all came for, an outsiders look into comics.
For the uninitiated, What Do You REALLY Know About Comics? is an interview series based on changing non comic readers perceptions about what the comic medium truly is.
I interview a NON comic reader and after a brief discussion about their other interests and entertainment choices, I attempt to give them the comics that would best match their sensibilities.
Today’s interview is with Marc. He’s 33, married with kids and lives in NY. So let’s find out What Marc, REALLY knows about comics.
Joe Mulvey: Hey Marc, Thanks for taking the time and interest to do this.Continued below
Marc: I’m looking forward to it.
JM: Great. So let’s get right into it. What do you REALLY know about comics?
M: Well, I read them as a kid. So I know a little about them. I used to go crazy for Green Lantern and Hawkman. I used to put a huge roll of duct tape at the end of a wiffle ball bat and pretend I was Hawkman.
JM: That’s hardcore.
M: Well I was a kid.
JM: Right, so, twenty-eight, twenty-nine?
M: HA! HA! No, like nine or ten. I used to watch the cartoons and I had the toys.
JM: Was Hawkman in the old cartoons?
M: YEAH! Shouldn’t you know, anyway?
JM: I guess I should. I’m horrible with some of that stuff. Cartoons and whatnot. I’m a dunce.
M: Well it started there I think, than I read some comics too.
JM: Cool, so the show got you into the books. Was it only Green Lantern and Hawkman or other characters?
M: I had a bunch. Whatever my mom or sister would get me at the candy store, I guess.
JM: So a casual reader, not a collector or die hard?
M: Yeah, casual I’d say.
JM: Okay. And why did you stop reading them?
M: Hmm. I don’t know, I guess I just grew up. You know how it is when you’re a kid, something just gets in your head for like a week at a time, then you move onto the next thing.
JM: I hear ya. And you’ve never picked up a comic since?
M: No. I was in a book store a while back right around when the movie came out and I did flip through one it looked like there was all sorts of colors to them now. Black, green, gold, white.
JM: Yeah, that book really had a run of great stories a little while back. Pretty highly acclaimed although I can’t say I’ve actually read them. Tons of people whose opinions I trust raved about them. When I give you your reading list do you want me to throw some of that run of Green Lantern in so you can catch up?
M: Sure. Is it kid friendly?
JM: Yeah. I’d say at least ten and up, though.
M: Ah ok. My sons only four, so maybe not then.
JM: Well, what about you?
M: Yeah, well, I was just hoping more to get something cool for him. He’s always reading.
JM: I’ll give you a ton of books for him. But the intent of this interview is to kind of get YOU to read a few comics and check them out.
M: Oh, I thought it was more to get my kids into it.
JM: Not exactly, although I will suggest a slew of books for your kids. Your son is four, and how old is your daughter?
M: Two and a half.
JM: I’ll give you a list and some books for both, but the bulk of the reading material I’m going to give you is for YOU.
M: Oh, okay. I guess I misinterpreted the whole thing.
JM: You did, but that’s cool. Not a problem, but that’s interesting. Why’d you think it was just for them?
M: I just thought it was more of an interview to see if I’d be comfortable giving my kids comics.
JM: So is it fair to say you see comics more as books just for kids?
JM: See, THAT’S the real point of the interview. That stereotype that keeps most everyday people from getting what comics really are. I say this one analogy all the time – you wouldn’t turn onoff the TV the first time, see The Simpsons and define television as cartoons or a kids show, would you?
M: Right. No.
JM: Well, that’s kind of what happened to comics. Because Superman, Batman, Fantastic Four and all those books become so big, the medium kind of got lost to that interpretation of the subject rather than getting judged by the medium itself.
M: Yeah, but that’s what comics are, aren’t they? Superheroes and morality lessons?
JM: Not really. It’s storytelling, yes. And at times it’s superheroes and morality tales, but comics can do a lot more than that. It’s storytelling just like any other brand of entertainment, it’s just done in sequential drawings.
M: News to me.
JM: THAT’S EXACTLY WHY I DO THIS!
M: HA! Okay.
JM: Comics are just like movies and TV and any other form of visual storytelling, as far as content goes. So, now when I’m going to ask you what other stuff you like, entertainment wise, I’m going to match some good books with those same styles. Catch what I mean?
M: Not a hundred percent but I’ll get there.
JM: Okay, well tell me some of the shows or movies you like.
M: Having two kids cuts down on getting to watch as much TV as me and my wife would like. But we do still catch some stuff. I really love Dexter on Showtime. We both do. Hawaii Five-0. I used to love Twenty Four. LOST! I used to plan my entire week around that show. How many do you need?
JM: As many as you can give me.
M: I feel like I’ve seen a million Law and Orders but nothing I’d say I really loved. I used to watch House a little. That was okay, nothing great. OH! Bones. I’ve watched that a lot. Trying to think. Lately it’s been so many home makeover shows and improvement stuff.
JM: Okay. What about movies or video games? You mentioned Green Lantern, did you see it?
M: No. The last movie I saw was James Bond, SKYFALL. That was great. Before that was probably the last Bourne movie. I don’t see many movies in a theater. Mostly on TV. Cable or on demand.
JM: Got it. Play and video games?
M: Again, I know I’m sounding like a defeated man, but with the kids, not as much as I used to.
JM: That’s fine. I’ve got one of my own, I know the deal. I’m trying to come up with something like a baby chloroform, to just slightly knock’em out and get some stuff done.
M: HA! That’d sell.
JM: Yeah, nothing unhealthy. Just a nice organic mixture, whatever would knock’em out. Cow farts and iodine, something green that’s just send ’em to slumberland a bit quicker so daddy can have some time.
M: Cow farts and iodine? HAHAH!
JM: I’m not the scientist. I’m just the idea man. It’s up to someone else to make it work. Okay, so but when you did play, what games were you playing?
M: HALO. Call of Duty. Star Wars: Knights of the Republic, I think. Mass Effect.
JM: Oh, okay, so you’ve played some games. Not a novice by any means.
M: Yeah, no I played. Trust me, I PLAYED.
JM: Okay, cool. So here’s what happens now. I’m going to get some books to you that I want you to check out. I’m going to send some books for your kids, but the list for you is just FOR YOU. I want you to read these comics and really check out how awesome the world of comics are. All ideas and unlimited budgets. You read them and whenever you’re done, you cal me back and we talk about what you thought. Sound good?
M: Yeah. Sure.
JM: And I know you have kids and it’s hard to find time, so don’t rush it. check out the books, the art, all of it and when youre done and want to talk, you’ve got my number.
M: Sounds good.
At this point I gave Marc his reading list: “The Activity” Vol. 1 from Image Comics. “Green Lantern: Blackest Night” from DC Comics. “Torso” from Image Comics. “Who is Jake Ellis?” Vol. 1 from Image comics. “The Cape” Vol. 1 from IDW. “Batman: The Black Mirror” from DC Comics. “Morning Glories” Vol. 1 from Image comics. “Daytripper” from Vertigo comics.
It’s been almost a month, 27 days since I gave Marc his books. Let’s see what he thinks.
JM: I’m anxious to hear what you think.
M: I LOVED THEM. I get why you talk about comics and do these interviews. These books are great.
JM: I’m smiling from ear to ear. I love hearing a person come back to me with the kind of enthusiasm you have. I’m really glad. And your kids? They like their books?
M: My son wouldn’t put the Thor one down. He’s still reading it. My daughter colored in some of hers.
JM: Awesome. Okay, so let me get right into your thoughts, I know you have two kids and don’t have time.
(Note for context. Marc wrote me an email a little after the initial interview worrying that he had seemed like he was talking poorly about all the time he doesn’t have to spend on other stuff because of being a father with a family and responsibilities. I told him, as a parent, I completely get it and it was not anywhere near the issue he felt it was. I told him he shouldn’t worry and it was a great interview. But true to form, I HAD to bust his balls.)
M: Ha. I know I feel so bad the way I came off.
JM: You weren’t the one talking about chloroforming your kids. I think you came out like complete gent. Now enough about these frikkin kids, let’s talk comics. What did you like? What surprised you? What did you read first?
M: First I read the Batman book. Just because I’d seen the recent movies and guess I just felt somewhat interested in it.
JM: “The Black Mirror.”
M: Yeah, so first off I was a little confused. Bruce Wayne wasn’t the Batman and Alfred didn’t look anything like Michael Cane which threw me off, but Batman’s Batman once he puts on the mask and kicks ass. I jumped along into the story pretty quick.
JM: True. I should’ve considered a bit of that confusion. There was some continuity within that book.
M: No, I got it. The Commissioner Gordon’s son story was crazy. So crazy. And that book, I took a picture of it with my cell phone, the picture with the Joker made out of Bats. I wanted that on a t-shirt the second I saw it. That should be a movie poster.
JM: Yeah, that cover was amazing. The artists name who did that is Jock. He’s tremendous.
M: Yeah, it was great. I was kind of disappointed when I was done because I thought that probably was the best one and I read it first.
JM: What did you read next? Wait, let me ask you how long it took you to read?
M: Two nights. Read half the first night and made myself go to sleep then finished it the following night.
JM: Considering you have two succubusses of time that’s impressive.
M: Stop! But I really did enjoy it. Then I read Green Lantern. That was crazy. I liked it but a little less than Batman, just because of all the characters, but I did enjoy it. And again the drawings were amazing. The huge ones, where it’s taking up both pages all the way across were mesmerizing. It felt like Die Hard in space. Crazy, crazy action.
JM: Yeah, that book was all about adding to the Lantern mythos, could be hard for a new reader.
M: I didn’t mind. It was fun to look at and although I wasn’t sure who was saying what at times, I got the story pretty much.
JM: It’s sounding like the art is something that’s really catching you about the books.
M: Yeah, it was incredible. When I read “Torso,” it was probably one of my favorite books that you gave me but I wish the guy who drew Batman would have drawn it.
JM: Look at you, playing editor.
M: No, I enjoyed that story a lot, just not the art as much. It was still good. But some pages got confusing and all sideways.
JM: I’m just kidding you. The way you’re talking about the books and describing or dissecting the art is unbelievably common for comic fans to do. You’re fine, trust me.
M: The art really did get me on a few of these. Like I said the Batman book was great. I like Jake Ice.
JM: You mean Jake Ellis? Or did you read the autobiography of Vanilla Ice’s brother?
M: HA! Asshole. You know what I mean.
JM: Couldn’t resist, sorry. Go ahead.
M: No, just that the book was great. Really fun and the art was really cool and explained a lot. It just helped when I could see what was going on clearly.
JM: Absolutely. There are so many styles of art in comics and it’s really important for the artist to be able to work with the writer and make the story come across as clear as possible. I’m sincerely impressed with the level of attention you’ve paid to the art. I don’t think anyone I’ve interviewed before you has been like that.
M: Well, it’s what I’m looking at, ya know? If the art’s bad or confusing, I don’t get it as much.
JM: Completely agree.
M: The twisted school book. I can’t think of the name.
JM: “Morning Glories.”
M: That one was probably the best. I don’t think I ever didn’t get what was going on.
JM: Yeah the art on that is a really clean style. Joe Eisma is the artist and he’s a great storyteller.
M: I liked that book the most as far as seeing whats going on next with the story. I gave it to my wife and I think she ordered us the other ones on amazon.
JM: Dude, you sound like a true fan of comics. Not to keep you much longer, I know you have things to do, but can you just talk a little bit about the ideas you had about comics before this and after?
M: Like what? I mean, I like them now. I’d read them now. Obviously.
JM: Right. But I mean perception. All of these books seemed to have definitely entertained you, but before this you would never have spent your time on them. What’s changed?
M: I guess, me. I thought comics were just cartoons in a book form. So it never interested me. But this stuff does.
JM: Awesome to hear, man. I really appreciate you doing this and I’m really glad you got to see what comics are really all about.
M: Yeah, Thanks man, it was fun.
JM: And before you hang up let me just say there’s stuff for everyone. Your wife, your kids. Just like TV, different programing for different people. It’s all available in comics. So let it be known.
JM: Awesome. And when I’m looking for investors in Kiddie Chloroform, I can call you?
M: I’m not saying another word.
That wraps up this installment of What Do You Really Know About Comics?. As always I HIGHLY recommend the reading materials suggested in this interview. I also NEED some recommendations. So if you guys read this and feel like you have some other suggestions, please pass them along. This is all about getting people to try comics. If you think there’s a great book that can do it, LET ME HEAR YOU.
Remember: Comics are King. We just need to let the rest of the world know.
As always I appreciate everyone out there who’s reading this and throwing support towards ComixTribe and myself.
I’ll be at Boston ComicCon in a few weeks at the COMIXTRIBE booth so come on down and say “Hi.”
Feel free to contact me at any of my contact info down below.
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